Assemblyman Magnarelli Holds Roundtable on Technology Development Organizations

As chairman of the Legislative Task Force on University-Industry Cooperation, I recently sponsored a roundtable discussion in Albany on the role of the state's Technology Development Organizations (TDO) in economic development strategies. TDO's are regional organizations that work directly with technology and manufacturing companies to develop successful business strategies. TDO's are not-for-profit organizations that are a part of the New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). The MEP is a cooperative program of the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Extension Program (NIST/MEP).

The purpose of this event was to discuss TDO's and their contributions to the state's economic development agenda and to explore ways to better utilize TDO's through the Empire State. Participants offered detailed observations regarding the entities roles and strategies - including helping businesses transition into more technology intensive centers and improving the competitiveness of today's manufacturing and high tech companies. A long term mission of the TDO's is to help start-up and further expand technology based companies that can help to create jobs in every corner of this state.

The roundtable focused on an examination of the TDO's mission - to ensure that inventions coming out of the state's research institutions find their way into the marketplace. TDO's accomplish this task by:

  • Working in their communities to develop an entrepreneurial climate
  • Getting involved in business creation - such as sponsoring orphan technology initiatives
  • Performing extensive analyses of patent portfolio in their specific regions
  • Identifying specific patent clusters
  • Seeking seed funding to stimulate the creation of companies
  • Conducting entrepreneurial readiness activities in partnership with universities
  • Helping companies/researchers access federal funds through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program
  • Helping state agencies to understand how industries can be partners to the agencies to build successful relationships between themselves and specific programs
  • Acting as a bridge, mediating and translating between the two very different cultures of university and business
  • Supporting economic development clusters; and
  • Maintaining an open line of communication between the all TDO's to share information and ideas that are working in one region that may be applicable to another

Representatives from the Central New York, Western New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, North Country, Capital, New York City and Long Island regions attended the event and provided valuable information. These representatives also made recommendations on how the state can better utilize TDO's in regional economic development strategies. These recommendations include:

  • Raising the level of TDO visibility within the government, academic and business communities
  • Providing seed money that would fund TDO's and other entities to assist with start-up costs for new businesses
  • Working to reduce the number of fragmented state run economic development programs by utilizing the TDO's to coordinate a more streamlined approach to economic development efforts

By working together we can accomplish great things. I anticipate a long and very successful relationship between TDO's and the Legislature so that we can track the progress of our distinct regional economic development strategies. I look forward to the work the Task Force on University-Industry Cooperation will do with our TDO's to help bring more good-paying jobs to our local communities.

The Assembly will continue to support TDO's and has recently passed a Resolution I introduced (K.2360) that called upon Congress to restore funding for the federal Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program. Funding for this critical program was severely reduced (by almost two-thirds) in the President's proposed budget for fiscal year 2004. Recently the House of Representatives restored MEP funding to the FY 2003 level of $106 million; the US Senate, however, has yet to act on these restorations.

For more information on TDO's please visit, write or call the Central New York Technology Development Organization, at 1201 East Fayette Street, Syracuse, NY 13210 (315) 425-5144 or check out their website at

Photos are from a roundtable discussion on the state's Technology Development Organizations (TDO) hosted by the Legislative Task Force on University-Industry Cooperation and Chairman Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli.

Chairman Magnarelli fields questions from representatives of the state's Technology Development Organizations (TDO) during a roundtable discussion in Albany.

Magnarelli is joined by Assemblymembers Ronald Canestrari (D-Cohoes) and William Scarborough (D-Queens) on the Task Force on University-Industry Cooperation to discuss the role of the state's TDO's in regional economic development strategies throughout the Empire State.

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